As the Milwaukee Brewers have been going through a difficult August, many fans have criticized GM David Stearns for not making a significant move at the trade deadline. But how quickly some fans forget that it was Stearns who brought in Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich this past offseason.
These two players have been incredibly crucial to the Milwaukee Brewers success this season. And because of them, the Brewers find themselves in the thick of the NL playoff race.
Lorenzo Cain returned back to Milwaukee via free agency this past offseason and the Brewers made sure to lock him down. Cain signed a five year, $80 million dollar contract back with the team that originally drafted him.
Christian Yelich was acquired via trade for, at the time, the Brewers top prospect in Lewis Brinson, plus others. It’s too early to declare a winner of this trade, but Milwaukee is the clear front runner at this point. Brinson has spent some time this year on the DL and has a batting average of just .183 on the season.
Just like Cain, the Brewers were able to secure Yelich for a long time, with five years remaining on his seven year, $49.75 million deal. The Brewers will have each of these key players under contract for a number of years to come.
Lorenzo Cain this season has been the most consistent offensive player in the Milwaukee Brewers lineup. He is hitting .304 and hasn’t gone through any sort of significant slumps. Cain’s worst month offensively came in May, and his average was still at .274 that month. Overall, still a productive month for Cain.
Cain has shown his true value in getting base hits and helping the Brewers to manufacture runs. He has just nine home runs on the season, which means that he’s producing a lot of singles and doubles, rather than relying on the long-ball. This is an area that the rest of the team, as a whole, needs to improve on and to not be so home run reliant. Between getting on base consistently and his 24 stolen bases, he’s one of the best at playing small-ball.
Lorenzo Cain also brings postseason experience, which this roster was lacking. As the Crew finds themselves in the midst of the playoff race, having a guy like Cain in the dugout and on the field can prove to be invaluable. Cain’s experiences of both winning and losing a World Series are an asset to have in the locker room, especially during this part of the season.
In addition to all of his accomplishments on offense, Cain is an outstanding defender. He is a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder that has great range and covers a lot of ground out there. He also has just three errors on the season. This is an often overlooked part of his game but a part that he plays quite well.
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His offensive production and defensive efficiency are what makes Cain a tremendously valuable member of this Brewers team. His value may be best shown in his WAR, which is at 5.5 games. Good for sixth best in the NL.
Christian Yelich has made quite the impact since arriving in Milwaukee as well. He currently has a .308 batting average on the year, which includes hitting .400 in July and winning NL Player of the Week honors. Up until recently, he was leading the NL in batting average as well.
Yelich has had a number of those many hits come at crucial points in games this season. So far, he’s batting .390 with two outs and RISP, while also having an average of .338 when the game is tied. The Crew has found themselves in a fair amount of close games this season and Christian Yelich has shined bright when given the opportunity. In innings seven through nine, he has an average of .328. No moment seems too big for Yelich this season.
We all know Yelich would provide a solid bat and a good OBP, but the home run ball was not anticipated. He currently sits at 20 home runs, just one off his career high with still five weeks left in the regular season. His most recent homer helped provide a quick spark to the offense and eventually led to a much needed win over Cincinnati.
Similar to Cain, Yelich plays great defense. A former Gold Glove winner, he provides flexibility for Cousell and plays either right or left field, depending on matchups and who else is in the Brewers lineup. Yelich is very quick and can track down most balls hit his way. He is also very efficient defensively, accumulating just three errors in his 111 games played.
The Brewers absolutely would not be in playoff contention without having Cain or Yelich on the team.
We need to take note at how truly good they’ve both been this season.They are the pillars of the Milwaukee Brewers offensive production. In most cases, they are starting rallies by getting on base or knocking base runners in. Cain and Yelich are two elite players that the Brewers can ride into the postseason.